Nov 29, 2016


I should have taken a TON of photos at quilt camp this past weekend, but I didn't take a single one. I was seriously focused and I did have some non-sewing, non-eating, non-sleeping time, but I clearly didn't use it for taking photos. I was there from 1pm on Thursday to about noon on Sunday. What a fantastic way to spend a weekend and some days off work! What a terrible mistake to not take any photos!

I took three tops with me and finished one entirely. Obviously they didn't have very intricate quilting, and none of them was especially large. Two little ones got straight lines in one direction. The bigger one got loops and swoops all over. I have the two little ones waiting for labels (donations) so their binding isn't on yet. I like to stitch the label into the binding so that it's good and solid on at least two sides.

I had samples of free-motion quilting that I did in a workshop, which I bound together into a runner. I like quilt-as-you-go, and the finishing to get squares together isn't hard at all. Here's a tutorial that matches what I do. I'm really happy with the way the samples went together and with the success I had with the quilting.

I started a quilt for my nephew and got it sandwiched and ready to quilt at home. It's freaking adorable, if I do say so myself. It's from a Lorax panel, which I cut up and re-arranged. My kid wanted to steal it, but it really has to go to the nephew.

I sandwiched some pre-printed Halloween placemats and got them ready to quilt at home. I saw my expert quilter auntie Robin do some line-following on a panel that made it a thousand times better than flat and I thought it would be excellent practice for me since I have a hard time following lines or my own stitches. Practice, practice, practice.

Quilter auntie Jocy recently went to England and gave me a supercute little bus tin that could be a piggy bank, and came with some lovely tea in it.

Quilter auntie Cathy was there too, and she brought her finished one-block wonder top for show-and-tell. She was working on that at our last camp in March so it was good to see it all together. This camp, she set to work on a lot of Christmas things and made a lot of great progress.

While I'm naming names, there is a retired woman named Pat who attends all 5 or 6 of the camps that this one shop puts on each year. I see her there no matter what time of year I go. She's close to 6 feet tall, she's (I think) 85 now, she dragonboats, she skips and bounces during the fat quarter swap, and she loves to laugh. Inspiring.

I finished (they were close to done when I arrived at camp) three of these train cases (no piping) and they almost killed me. All that Soft & Stable and so many layers of everything! Expert quilter auntie Robin suggested a denim needle of size 100 to get through all the thicknesses and that was the best attempt I had had on the last few steps. My machine's timing was way off with smaller needles. Mum offered to try to finish the corners on her machine because mine didn't like corners, and that worked - thanks, Mum!, so then all I had to do when I got home was the hand-sewing to seal up the linings top and bottom. My thumb is sore from pushing that needle through so many times. But I am SO HAPPY THEY ARE DONE!

I'll have pictures of all this when I am able to get them outside and take photos. It's been miserable and gray and mostly rainy lately.

I have knitting too - a pair of socks, a gray cowl, and I have a mustardy-gold cowl in progress. The gray one is a Purl Soho pattern that's sort of an offset brioche, and the mustardy-gold one is a basic mistake rib of no documented pattern.

Anyway, that's enough words. More pictures! Fewer words!


Nov 6, 2016

love me some kootenays!

So here I am again in the beautiful West Kootenays. It's a long stretch this time, which is not so great, but it did let me spend a weekend here, which I haven't done on my own before. Luckily I had an extra almost 20 hours of work to keep me busy. However, I did have time to visit with my knitting buddy from Nelson - Karen! We met at the junction of 3 and 6 and got into one car together. We had made plans to go to New Denver to visit the yarn/fabric store called Sew Much More.

On the way, we stopped at a little coffee shop called Frog Peak and Karen goes there all the time, so she got hit up to knit pockets for someone's sweater. It was a really funky little shop and I can see why it's popular.

We drove through Slocan Park, Winlaw, Silverton and then got into New Denver. It wasn't a sunny day, but it wasn't raining either. Karen showed me where her knitting friends live, where she buys her eggs, and let me blow right past the street I needed to turn down to get to Sew Much More.

After I turned around, we found the shop. It was 10:38 and it opened at 10:30. Not keeners at all.

WHAT A SHOP! They probably don't have the biggest customer base, but with product like that, I'm sure she keeps things moving. She's got Sweet Georgia, Malabrigo, Madeline Tosh, Hedgehog, Regia, Cascade, big Lopi-like stuff, and SO much more (punny). I should have written it all down, but it's probably on their website. Needles from KnitPicks, Addi and Chiao Goo as well, plus another brand I can't remember right now. Really, anything you'd need for knitting, crochet or felting. On the fabric side of the shop, she has Moda solids, collections that it would be super easy to pick from for whatever project you have in mind, jelly rolls, layer cakes, charm packs, notions like needles, thread, rulers, and so on, and tons of fat quarters. All hiding in New Denver!

We spent about an hour there. I got a couple skeins of Tosh Merino light for a shawl, a fat quarter set, and a half a meter of some Christmas owl fabric. Oh, and three pens. I like the Frixion pens for writing, not for quilting, but they're getting harder to find. So I got three.

Then we went back to Silverton to the Cup and Saucer. We both had the Valhalla Salad and it was amazing.

After lunch, we walked up to a big tree we had passed on the way and Karen took some pictures of my recently-finished Oda. In nature. On me.

My hair matches the building. Karen thought that was hilarious.

More hair matching the building.

From there, we went back to the junction and split up. It rained a little bit, but nothing too bad. It was the nicest day of the week, I think. Well, since the Sunday before I got here anyway, when it was 20 degrees. It wasn't bad today either. When I went out at lunch, I had to wear sunglasses.

Anyway, on my way back from the meeting point, I saw that the lady just south of Castlegar had her quilt shop sign out, so I turned off the highway to go into the shop she has in her house. I added a few more things to my bag there. Gotta support the local guys, right? They be having good prices in the Kootenays.

And then it was time to work.

Here's an interesting tidbit. To drink a Guinness from a can, you're supposed to pour the whole thing out of the can, with the can held completely upside-down. It doesn't foam over or anything. I think the widgit has a role in that. When you're in a hotel room, you don't have a big beer mug, so I creatively took two plastic cups and, with a single pour, filled them without spilling a drop.

Can't wait to be home on Friday!


Jul 19, 2016


I don't often add borders to my quilts, but I did add one to the Batman quilt I made for my daughter, to make it a little bigger. Plus, I was at a quilt retreat with a bunch of traditional quilters and they egged me on with it.

ANYWAY, I just saw a blog post about how you'd go about adding borders and it's exactly the way my Mum taught me to do it, so of course I like it.

Here's the link.

Have a look and give it a try. I find that this process does the squaring-up for me, so I don't have to worry about trimming a huge rectangle to square, with the difficulties that that presents.


Jul 6, 2016

sooooo sweet

Doubly sweet.

Don't you love how they cross their legs like they're still on the inside?

They're only 40-inch quilts, but they look so big when the babies are so tiny. I love quilting, sewing and knitting for babies.

Congratulations to the Mum, Dad, and all the extended family. The boys are gorgeous and I'm so happy that you're happy with the quilts.  *huge smile*


Jun 4, 2016

sittin and knittin

It's a hot one. Too hot, it seems, to be hidden under an 80" square quilt, wrestling with its quilting, or using an iron for piecing. So I'm knitting. House to myself and working on Oda. Dog is behaving and probably still tired from her long run yesterday.

Happy weekend!


Jun 1, 2016

May long weekend road trip

If you only care about crafts, you can stop reading now. This is a different sort of post.

If you only care about the west Kootenay region of BC, this post is for you! Hi Karen!!

On the BC May long weekend, hubby and I hit the road and got as far as Grand Forks on Friday. We got a bit of a later start, and the traffic was as horrendous as you can imagine getting through the heavily populated areas. So Grand Forks was far enough.

We stopped in Hedley to see family and I got hugs from two young sorta-cousins, a sorta-uncle, my closest sorta-cousin, and her husband. I missed my closest sorta-cousin's sister (also my closest sorta-cousin - the two of them are kind of a set) because she was out on a ride somewhere. That will be the last time we see the sorta-uncle in downtown Hedley because they're moving this week, if they haven't moved already. So happy for them!

It was sunny and lovely in Hedley on Friday. We left, and planned to stop for dinner in Osoyoos. We had the dog with us, so after some discussion, decided to pick up Subway and eat it by the lake. It was really windy and not warm, so we ate in the car pointing at the lake. Hubby saw a lynx (he thinks) and a brown bear of some kind somewhere around the Rock Creek area.

On Saturday morning, we got up, packed up and drove past Christina Lake and down to Rossland for breakfast. On the way, we stopped at this sign:

Then we stopped at the outdoor section of a Rossland museum. It was raining, but just lightly. Lots o' pictures here.

Then we had breakfast at Clansey's in Rossland and it was really, really good. After that, we drove through Warfield, and on the way down from Warfield to Trail, you go under two train overpasses. At one of them, you see the Tunnel Pub on one side of the road and this tunnel on the other side. It doesn't go anywhere and we don't know what it's left over from, but it was a nice place to stop and have a look. While we were there, a train went overhead to Teck, carrying anhydrous ammonia for the fertilizer operation.

Then we went to downtown Trail, the Trail airport, and we did a short walk to the river on the little trail close to the airport. That's the Columbia river. It's big. It's dammed - several times. It got smokin' hot while we were down by the river, which made for a really warm walk back up to the car. On our way back to downtown Trail, we saw Ken carrying rebar. Hi Ken!

We also drove up to the part of Trail where houses were placed in a terraced fashion, and the roads are wonky and there are covered staircases that cross-cut the winding roads. You don't have to drive very far to get this high. That's the Columbia river with Teck on the left, seeming to make all the clouds out of its stacks.

On the highway between Trail and Castlegar, you have to watch for wildlife. We now know where the turkeys go when they need to get to the other side - - highway 22. When we saw the turkey jogging down the road against traffic that was going 80km/h, it wasn't near this sign. That's why she didn't cross the road. She was just running to get to the sign so she could cross, I'm sure.

We then spent time at Don's house on the way to Nelson, where we planned to stay for Saturday night. Hubby and Don went shooting in Don's backyard and scared THE CRAP out of the dog. She took off faster than I've ever seen her run and went to hide under our car.

When we got to Nelson and got checked in, we went down to the lake to walk the dog a bit. She wasn't allowed on the path close to the lake for a big chunk of it, so we walked around to where we could get down close to the lake. It's called Lakeside Park and you can see the current in it and I'm not really convinced that it shouldn't be called a river. It's also dammed a lot and it's a pretty long and skinny lake ... kind of like a river.

There is apparently a loud noise every so often to scare the geese off the field. You can see why they might need that.

And the darned things breed like crazy! Cute though, right?

This mural is seen when you're coming out of the under-bridge parking area close to the lake. The bridge was orange, but they did work on the lower half of it and painted that a fresh pink colour. It's totally noticeable that halfway up the bridge there's a colour change and it bugs the heck out of Stephan, who lives in the area but not in the city.

Cutest Dairy Queen ever exists in Nelson. It's only open for 6 months of the year. While I was sitting outside with the dog, a mom came by and asked if the dog was friendly because her daughter wanted to say hello. The daughter was 2.5 years old and was super cute. She had some serious doggy tunnel-vision. We had a good chat and part of it went like this:

Dog: <whines>
Child: "What's she doing?"
Me: "She's whining. Don't you whine?" (mocking children can be fun)
Child: "No." Dead serious. Not even like she knows she's lying to me.
Child's Mother: <finds it hard to suppress her laughter, as all mothers would>

This is Nelson's courthouse. It's very old and very well covered in climbing plants, which makes it lovely to look at. It was designed by the same person who designed the Empress hotel in Victoria, BC.

Sunday morning we got breakfast and then we went to Kaslo, also on Kootenay "lake". We were hoping that the weather would clear up and it would be a nice day for walking around during May Days, and for watching the log rolling and whatnot. It was not nice. It was pouring. We did get out and walk to see the car show and the steam engine display, and we got the kid a shirt, but we didn't stay very long.

We were supposed to go back to Grand Forks for the night, but we would have been there so early and didn't want to do nothing, so we decided to go through New Denver, Nakusp, and then out to Vernon, Kelowna and home. We stopped at a little drive-in restaurant in Nakusp and ate at a covered picnic table. In the rain. The dog had to check it out.

We saw these little rental domes on the road as well, but I think I have this out of order. They were probably closer to New Denver because they're close to Slocan Lake, but I should check a map. Yeah, close to New Denver.

And we took our car on a cute little ferry to get across to the Vernon side and enter the Okanagan from the Kootenays. In the rain. It was the Needles - Fauquier ferry on highway 6 that crosses Upper Arrow Lake. I don't actually know where the Kootenays become the Okanagan, but I know that Vernon isn't in the Kootenays, so the division is somewhere between that ferry and Vernon.

And then we carried on home. It was a good trip with lots of driving and lots of looking around. We will have to go back and tour around the Slocan Valley and see what we can find there. And we'll also have to go right into New Denver because we didn't this time and I missed a yarn shop.


May 18, 2016

modern twinsies

I got my act together and lined up the photos of the "same, but different" quilts that I did for the wee twin boys who aren't born yet. I have met their mother, through their grandmother, with whom I work. Grandma is a lovely person and I probably went overboard on these for the mother who I had only met once, but none of the effort was painful and all of it added to my experience (I still consider myself new, having quilted for only a year and a half). Also, my friend Amber advised me that it would be the, "Best gift at the shower, bitches!". She's a quilter too, and she has totally gifted quilts at showers. Heck yeah!

So anyway, here they are, before quilting, after quilting, after binding and all-things-finished, and the back:

A disappearing 9-patch that really, really disappeared.
All-over meandering, free-motion quilting that has a couple of goofy spots, but is actually follow-able. I bound them both with Kona gray and now you're thinking, "Which Kona gray?" and I don't know. It's lighter than my other Kona gray; I know that much. The colours on the front are all Free Spirit. They're kind of primary colours but kinda not, right?
Those are my slippers. I don't wear socks with sandals. My daughter does and says it's totally okay, and even pointed someone out at the mall last weekend who was wearing BLACK SOCKS with her Birkenstock-style sandals. I cringed.
The flannel for the back wasn't quite wide enough (40-inch squares is what they are), so I added a strip of white flannel.
This one uses all the same fabrics, but it's different. See why I called them "same, but different"? Again, those are my slippers.
My daughter HATES the quilting on this one. I did each quadrant with a line toward the centre, and then another out toward the edge at 90 degrees. I didn't measure them and many of them have an apex that isn't in the middle. They're wonky and I like that. The thing my daughter really dislikes is the 'diagonal' line that joins the apices (I had to look that up) of each of the 90-degree quilted lines. The apices aren't in a straight line. The 'diagonal' line jogs back and forth.
I think this one is more of a modern quilt than the other one, but they're both all solids. This one has more negative space and a wonky block design that I made up as I went along. I made them both up as I went along. They would have been BOTH made from disappearing 9-patches, but I had a bunch of 9-patches that didn't make the cut because they were too flowery. So I only had enough for one quilt and then had to come up with this one separately.
And this is the back of number 2.

Yes, that's me. Yes, I have blue hair. Yes, I'm wearing a Batman shirt. No, I don't wear socks with sandals. For the last time, those are MY SLIPPERS!!!!


May 17, 2016

startitis and a linky post

I have a bad, bad case of startitis. That's when you start everything. All of it. All the things.

I have just finished three pillowcases and three pairs of pyjama shorts in the past week.

I've cut fabric for a topper for a big chest that will serve as a side table in the living room, and which is too dear to damage in any way.

I've still got that round robin quilt sitting there with the pins in, waiting for the rest of its quilting.

I've completed two quilt tops that are 36" square, which will be donated to the preemie program at a local hospital. They need to be sandwiched, quilted and bound. (That should be quick because they're small and I'll do the binding on the machine.) They were made with some Riley Blake fabric that I received from the Modern Quilt Guild in a challenge, but I couldn't procure the necessary fabrics to finish them up and get them entered (I had to use other fabrics). The Riley Blake fabric, though, was super easy to work with and aside from it being 3/4 of a yard long rather than the width of fabric (the design runs parallel to the selvedges), it's perfect. I suppose if you bought 2 yards and wanted great lengths of it, you'd be annoyed if there were only 40ish inches of it based on the width.

I've been downloading patterns like crazy and am itching to make summer pants and shorts.

I've got a paper-piecing project planned. Just a mini, but it's got 20,000+ pieces and I want to get it done and out of the way soon. It's for a girl at work. She will probably outwardly scoff at it, but she's a prickly pear and I know she'll be thinking sweet thoughts on the inside.

I have some abandoned pieces from a disappearing 9-patch that will come together to be a quilt of their own, with only a little bit more sewing. And maybe some really bold orange added to it. That'll be a wild one. I hope the other girl at work is having a girl. She won't know for a couple weeks, but if it turns out that it's a girl, this quilt is ear-marked for that baby.

My walking foot broke the other day. It's this one. I only bought my Janome 8900 Quilter's Edition last August, and I had the world's best experience at Toew's, where I bought the machine. No questions, no issues, just a new part. WOOT! So because of that, I thought it best to support this local business just a little bit more and so I also got the 1/4" foot for the walking food (Accufeed), and I picked up a 'teflon' foot for doing a project with vinyl as well.

That's the other project I've got started - the sewing machine mat from Make It, Take It. It's made with selvedges on muslin, and then quilted onto batting and a back, and you add the vinyl to the front bit that hangs down in front of your machine so you can put things into pockets that you stitch into the vinyl. It's going to be epic - I'm making it as wide as my machine plus plexi-table, not just the width of the machine. Hopefully my machine will be a little quieter. Not that it's terribly noisy now, but it isn't silent and I don't have a sewing room with a door. I have a nook area off the kitchen, just around the corner from the TV-watching area.

So .... yeah. You can see that I'll have lots of things to show you in a while, but they aren't done yet. It's because I keep starting other things.

(Truth be told, I have finished a set of two baby quilts for twins that a friend's daughter is expecting, but I haven't got the photos available right now, so they'll have to come later too.)


Apr 2, 2016

unending scraps #scraps4life

I sewed the 2-patches into 4-patches and then the 4-patches into 8-patches (so much chain-piecing!!), prepping to create the 16-patches.

My scraps that would become 16-patches don't really go together to become quilts at this time. Know what that means? I need to make more 8-patches and see what happens, or build frames for 8-patches or tall 16-patches and tie them together that way. Just having a white buddy on each little square isn't enough to bring cohesion.

So this project will continue. I'll keep building new quilts and creating new scraps, and eventually it'll work out. It's all good.


Mar 24, 2016

scrap happy

I went to quilt camp this past weekend. I intended to do the quilting on my round robin top but I just got it pinned. I didn't really have enough room to quilt it there. I also have no idea how I'm going to quilt it. I did get my 12-inch mini finished - I'll be sending that one to the Maritimes for a swap.
And the back is pretty cute too.
It was fun to tinker with. The paper airplanes are paper-pieced and that was really my first time doing that. Then I chopped them down and improv-pieced them back to square. I did pretty minimal quilting, but I'm happy with the jetstreams and the ghost cloud that echoes the back.

I also finished a quilt for a coworker's daughter. They have both been sick lately so I don't know when I'll get it to her, but at least it's done.
I love love love the pink stripe binding on this one. And the owls (Riley Blake) in the centre of each square are totes adorbs. I have a really cute fabric on the back that looks like inter-lined paper. There's the odd word and picture, but it's mostly blank. I don't mind if she writes on it when she's able to - I did. No label required!

At camp I also made a pair of oven mitts that you can't get your thumbs into. I'll head to the store for the Easter weekend sale and get more Insulbrite and see if I can make a better pair. I'll actually have the current set of mitts to use as a template instead of going from memory, which is sure to result in success.

I had a terrible time with cheap flannelette squares on the weekend - I made a few nine-patches and then decided that I didn't like the fabrics or the way they were going to go together. They'll be orphan blocks for a while.

Remember how I was sorting my scraps? I went a little crazy with the 2.5" squares. I decided to sew them to a 2.5" strip of Kona White, and then realized how quickly you could eat up a meter of fabric doing that.
I got 17 squares on each strip and I had about 21 strips in the end. Then I ironed the seams and opened them all up. Then I spent some time meticulously cutting them into their white-and-x sets.
 And sorting them into colour stacks and colour  families.
And then planning all the 16-patches and stacking them for sewing.
It's going to be an interesting design exercise to line up the 16-patches that can go together into a quilt. I still have 2 stacks of 2.5" squares, so I can carry on and provide more options if I need to, and I can also sock them away and wait for more scraps to be born. I'm going to do 2.5" strips instead of squares wherever I can, though. Squares are finicky.